The Jacksonville Jaguars had a less-than-stellar 2021 season, finishing fourth in the AFC South with a record of 3-14. They’ve got a roster full of holes, but with the announcement of Doug Pederson taking over as head coach after the Urban Meyer situation last year, they’ll be looking to fill some of those holes and have a better 2022 season.
Trevor Lawrence was poised to have a big year in Jacksonville, but it didn’t turn out that way for the rookie quarterback. He ended up as one of the most inefficient passers in the league, as the Jaguars couldn’t get much going offensively all season long.
The Jags are at +10000 to win the Super Bowl next year, according to odds at DraftKings Sportsbook. Their odds to win the AFC South division sit at +750, behind the Titans (-105) and the Colts (+140). They’re faring better than the Texans right now, who sit at +2200 to win the division. Of course, that can and will change as the new coaching staff start to figure out how to fill the needs on their roster. Fortunately for the Jags, they’ve got about $56 million in cap space to work with this offseason.
Jacksonville Jaguars free agency preview
Positional needs: WR, OL, TE, LB, DT
The Jaguars are fairly set at quarterback with Trevor Lawrence entering his second year, despite how poorly the offense ended up being in 2021. He has the potential to become a franchise quarterback, if the front office can build an offense around him. DJ Chark suffered a season-ending ankle injury back in Week 4, leaving the Jaguars in a tough spot as Marvin Jones Jr. ended up leading the team in receptions, totaling 832 receiving yards and four touchdowns on the season.
The NFL Draft is coming up in April and the Jaguars have the first pick in the first four rounds, so chances are they’ll be able to pick up some much needed help at any of those positions in question.
The Jaguars will need to make life easier for Lawrence, and that also includes shoring up their offensive line. Lawrence made mistakes throughout the season, yes, but he didn’t always quite have the protection he needed. Upgrading the offensive line while giving Lawrence some really solid receiving options would do wonders for the Jags next season.
Players to target
Zach Ertz, TE
Doug Pederson coached the Philadelphia Eagles from 2016-2020 and saw plenty of success, including a Super Bowl championship in 2018. That was in large part to the offensive prowess of Zach Ertz.
Ertz has proven to be an incredibly valuable asset for any offense, always finding ways to get open and rarely dropping any catches. He would bring a huge upside for Trevor Lawrence, giving him a reliable target he can almost always count on.
Ertz will be a free agent this year, and with Pederson newly at the helm of the Jaguars, there’s a chance he could rekindle their connection and lure Ertz into coming to Jacksonville.
Michael Gallup, WR
One of the biggest downfalls to the Jags’ offense last year was the lack of a clear WR1 on the roster, making it tough for Lawrence to find an open target on any given play. The Jags should absolutely be targeting a new WR1 for next season, and Michael Gallup may just fit the bill.
Gallup tore his ACL in early January, but he’s making a speedy recovery and is expected to be game-ready by August. He’s a free agent this year after spending four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Last season, through injury woes, he fell down the depth chart behind Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb.
Now a free agent heading into 2022, he would be a clear WR1 for the Jaguars, and would be a huge pickup for Pederson’s team if he’s fully healthy and ready to go by the beginning of the season.
Brandon Scherff, G
With their offensive line in dire need of some upgrades, one free agent in Brandon Scherff could be an ideal target heading into 2022. The Jaguars have both of their starting guards in Andrew Norwell and A.J. Cann heading into free agency, so targeting another guard to come step in isn’t too far-fetched for Pederson’s squad.
Scherff has spent his entire career with Washington, but as he heads to free agency this offseason, there are a plethora of teams who could use him on their line. One downside is that he’s injury-prone, not having playing a full season since 2016 due to injury woes. However, when he’s healthy, Scherff is one of the best guards in the league and could bring some much-needed help where the Jaguars are in need.